Course Details - Guiding Seed Sector Transformation

A vibrant, pluralistic and market-oriented seed sector

Seed is an essential input for crop production. Access of farmers to affordable quality seed of improved and farmer-preferred varieties is key in increasing agricultural production and productivity. Supporting the development of a vibrant and pluralistic seed sector can substantially contribute to increasing food security and economic development in developing countries. If you strive to broaden your international experience and strengthen your competencies to support seed sector development taking an integrated perspective, this course is an interesting opportunity.

Contemporary lessons in seed sector development

Public sector seed programmes in most developing countries targeted the dissemination of quality seed of improved varieties in the 1970s and ’80s, assuming that with these efforts the informal seed system would disappear. The orientation of the 1990s shifted towards the withdrawal of the public sector, promoting privatisation and liberalisation of the seed market. However, only for a limited number of crops, like hybrid maize and vegetables, large-scale commercial seed production appears to be successful. Throughout the world, the largest quantities of seed are still produced by farmers themselves.

Integrated seed sector development

Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) acknowledges and appreciates the unique challenges faced by a sector characterised by diversity and complexity. Instead of addressing it by linear and independent pathways, it promotes a pluralistic approach and complementary seed systems’ development. ISSD aims to better link informal and formal seed systems, and balance public and private sector involvement. It explores variation among seed value chains with the aim of making seed programmes and policies more coherent with farmers’ practices. As such, ISSD aims to contribute to overarching objectives of food security, economic development, the promotion of entrepreneurship, and agrobiodiversity conservation and use.

New professionalism in the seed sector

The overall objective of this three-week course is to enhance your capabilities to translate the ISSD approach into strategies for making seed programmes and policies more coherent with farmers’ practices. You will learn to facilitate interactions between formal and informal seed systems, and to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the seed sector. Three course modules guide you through a process in meeting your expectations. and policies more coherent with farmers’ practices. As such ISSD aims to contribute to overarching objectives of food security, economic development, the promotion of agricultural entrepreneurship, and biodiversity conservation and use.

Programme modules

Module 1: Concepts and practice of ISSD

  • ISSD and seed systems: How to take a systems perspective to seed sector development?
  • Seed value chains: What are entry points for strengthening specific seed value chains?
  • Agrobiodiversity management: How to support the conservation and sustainable management of plant genetic resources?
  • Crop improvement: How to ensure that varieties meet farmers’ demands?
  • Seed quality assurance: How to manage, assess and assure seed quality?
  • Seed business development: How to take an entrepreneurial approach towards seed production, and how to support seed business planning?
  • Partnerships and innovation: How to work on institutional issues hampering seed sector development through multi-stakeholder platforms and partnerships?
  • Seed related policies: How do international treaties and agreements, and national seed laws relate to your work?

Module 2: Seed business study tour

Field study: Visits to different Dutch seed companies and organisations supporting a strong Dutch top-sector, like the Centre for Genetic Resources and the Dutch General Inspection Service, will expose you to state-of-the-art Dutch seed business environments and allows direct interactions with managers and their staff. A real eye-opener.

Module 3: Action planning

Action planning: Concluding with the development of personal action plans allows you to integrate all course topics into the reality of your working situation, looking at opportunities for bringing the ISSD approach into practice in your own work.

Courses are currently online

Our courses are currently online and follow this format:

  • Pre-course assignments for you to get to know WCDI and for us to get to know your work environment and your expectations about the course;
      • Interactive plenary sessions where we share content, review assignments and facilitate exchanging experiences. During those interactive sessions we work with a number of online tools like Google Jamboard, Mural and Mentimeter;
  • Group work either online or offline where you with other participants address a specific question or do an assignment. Results of these assignments are also shared and discussed during online sessions;
      • Individual assignments where you will read literature, watch videos, and do exercises on your own. These assignments are an essential part of the learning and most of them count for getting the certificate. They are meant to introduce or deepen knowledge and make the link between theory and your own situation. These assignments are reviewed either by peers or facilitators.

In some, but not all courses we go on virtual field visits – showing you ‘live’ situations in the field, or with companies or organisations that we collaborate with. We offer coaching trajectories where we support you one-on-one or in small groups to review your individual learning paths in the course and help with any basic questions you may have.

Online platforms: Zoom and TalentLMS

Internet connection is important for the completion of the course. Not sure about the connection in your area? Send an e-mail about your situation.

We use Zoom as a facilitating platform for all our online courses. Our courses take place in general over a 6-8 week period to make the workload and time you spend online manageable.

Our online learning system is TalentLMS. Everything you need — our course programme, chatrooms, assignments, background information are in this system. TalentLMS is easy to operate, can also be accessed by your phone and has an on-and offline functionality. We even organise a technical check-in before the course starts, to test your facilities and get familiar with the tools.

Course planning and certificates

The course workload is approximately 16-20 hours a week (2-2.5 workdays).

The exact programme of your course will be available 2-3 weeks before the start of the course. If you’ve successfully completed your course we send you a digital certificate.

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